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The Story of Bern (Or) Showing Colors
A superb facsimile of Dorothy Ianonne’s 1970 comic-book tale of censorship, sexuality and female autonomy. As much as Love and Eros have defined my work since its beginnings, so too has censorship, or its shadow, accompanied it,“ recalls Dorothy Iannone (born 1933) in her introduction to this facsimile publication of her legendary The Story of Bern, [or] Showing Colors. First published by Iannone and her then companion Dieter Roth in 1970, in an edition of 500, the book documents the censorship of Iannone’s work The (Ta)Rot Pack (1968–69) and the subsequent removal of all his works by Roth, from a collective exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bern.
For his exhibition titled Freunde, Friends, d'Fründe, legendary curator Harald Szeemann invited Karl Gerstner, Roth, Daniel Spoerri and André Thomkins to exhibit artist friends; Roth chose Iannone. The censorship of Iannone, and Roth’s protest, eventually led to Harald Szeemann’s resignation as the director of the institution. Telling the story of this act of censorship as well as the context of the exhibition in Bern and its iteration in a non-censored version in Düsseldorf, The Story of Bern is emblematic of Iannone’s distinctive, explicit and comic-book style, and of her openness about sexuality and the strengthening of female autonomy.